Journal article

The pirates of the Defensor de Pedro (1828–30) and the sanitisation of a pirate legend

Sarah Craze, Richard Pennell

International Journal of Maritime History | SAGE Publications | Published : 2020


In late 1827, the crew of a Brazilian slaver, the Defensor de Pedro, mutinied and became pirates. The article follows the narrative of their attacks on ships, including the British Morning Star off Ascension Island in February 1828 and the American merchant Topaz. The Spanish authorities in Cádiz captured most of the crew and tried and executed them. Their captain, Benito de Soto, was tried and hanged in Gibraltar. Using trial papers the article reconstructs the events. It then examines how reworkings of the narrative have changed mass murderers and rapists into popular heroes, both in the general literature on piracy (e.g. Phillip Gosse and Basil Lubbock) and in more recent academic literat..

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